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Delta looks set to launch non-stop flights between LA and Auckland

Delta is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia.

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Delta is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia.

Delta looks set to launch non-stop flights between Los Angeles and Auckland, in what would mark the major US airline’s debut in New Zealand.

An announcement is understood to be imminent after Delta Air Lines president Glen Hauenstein last week told staff the carrier would launch the route later this year, Airline Weekly reported.

A spokesperson for the airline told Stuff Travel they could not confirm any of these details.

Auckland Airport and Los Angeles International Airport representatives said they had no information, referring Stuff Travel to the airline.

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House of Travel chief operating officer Brent Thomas said the potential route would most likely launch for the northern hemisphere winter – New Zealand’s summer – in line with our inbound tourism season.

Things were looking good for New Zealand consumers on the North America routes, with the possibility of Delta’s arrival adding to a year that will also see Qantas launching its non-stop Auckland to New York route in direct competition with Air New Zealand – with the potential for the Australian carrier to further expand its offering between New Zealand and North America.

Only Air New Zealand currently operates a non-stop flight from LAX to Auckland.

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Only Air New Zealand currently operates a non-stop flight from LAX to Auckland.

“The more competition we have, the better it is for the New Zealand consumer,” Thomas said.

Currently, only Air New Zealand flies non-stop between LA and Auckland. United flies from San Francisco to Aucklandwhile American Airlines – which used to fly out of LA – now flies out of Dallas Fort Worth in Texas.

Fiji Airways flies from Auckland to LA via Nadi, and Air Tahiti Nui from Auckland to LA via Papeete. Flying with Hawaiian Airlines, via Honolulu, is another option for Kiwis heading to the US.

Thomas added that Delta would have “significant connections” out of LAX, making it easier for Kiwis wanting to go further afield.

“It allows people to go not just to North America, but to use that as a launching pad, whether it be Europe, South America, Central America or the Caribbean.”

Aviation commentator Irene King said the potential entry of Delta would be “a real shot of confidence”, and should result in more competitive airfares.

Travelers out of North America were also “precisely the type of people we want to attract” in terms of New Zealand’s “high-quality” tourism strategy.

“They’re what we call high-value, low-carbon footprint travelers, in the sense they do think about the environment.”

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